Friday, January 31, 2014

Skillet Chicken Thighs


Do any of you watch Top Chef? On the episode a couple of weeks ago a chef got kicked off because he used boneless skinless chicken breasts. Tom Colicchio (the head judge) said something along the lines of, "the chef in me just can't get over the fact that he used boneless skinless chicken breasts." I saw at home laughing because it is just so true. For those of you unfamiliar with the culinary/chef world, boneless skinless chicken breast is probably the least desirable cut of meat out there. That should blow the minds of most home cooks. Isn't that the cut that everyone buys? They've marketed the heck out of that stuff and now they charge you extra for it. But those bone-in, skin-on thighs, wings, breasts, and drumsticks? You can usually get a good bargain on those. Those in the know realize that those are the cuts with the most flavor. If you've been following this blog for a while then you know that I have a fondness for chicken thighs. They are just so dang delicious and versatile, I can't get enough of them! They are my go-to cut for easy meals on busy weeknights, or when I'm cooking for a crowd. I know it can be scary to venture away from the boneless skinless chicken you are used to, but I promise that once you taste a good crispy skin, and the moist and tender meat you get from these other cuts...you too might just fall in love. 

Prep Time: Less than 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 (2 thighs per person)

Ingredients

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 tsp. ground paprika
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 TB. butter
1 lemon, sliced


Instructions

1. Heat a skillet over high heat. 

2. While the skillet is heating, get out a small bowl and mix together paprika, basil, oregano, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper. Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken thighs.

3. Put the butter in the hot pan and let it sizzle, and let it spread out in the pan. Sear the chicken thighs for 2 minutes per side. 

4. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes, skin side down. Flip, skin side up, and cook covered 10 minutes more. 

5. Increase the heat to high and make sure the skin side gets one last sear (about 2 minutes). Add in the lemon slices for a little citrus zing. Serve skin side up with lemon slices. Garnish with a little chopped flat leaf parsley. 




Thursday, January 30, 2014

Healthy Harvest Soup


I discovered this recipe several years ago when I first started getting a CSA box (Community Supported Agriculture). CSA boxes are always interesting because you don't get to pick what goes in the box. It just comes with whatever is ripe on the farm. This recipe is perfect for fall and winter months when these ingredients are plentiful. It's warm, satisfying, and creamy and tastes fantastic. Plus it is kind of a cool soup recipe because it has an apple in it. In our church we regularly get to feed our missionaries. Yes, I'm LDS, and yes, those guys and gals with the black name tags you see walking around everywhere are the missionaries I'm talking about. We had two sweet young gals over for dinner and I fed them this soup. They get fed a lot of fancy meals, so I find that they appreciate the simplicity of soup and bread on occasion. They've been waiting to come over for dinner again after I finished my cookbook. I caught them just in time because one of them is being transferred to a new area. Anyway, they loved this soup, and I bet you will too! We've been loving it for years now!


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

3 TB. butter
2 large leeks, white parts only, sliced
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery ribs
1 apple, peeled, cored, and cubed
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream (as desired)


Instructions

1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in leeks and onion and saute for 5 minutes. 

2. Add in butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots, celery, apple, and vegetable (or chicken) stock. Season with salt, nutmeg, and black pepper. Bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until all vegetables are tender. Puree using an immersion or stick blender, or transfer in batches to a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Stir in heavy cream and serve hot. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chocolate Tiramisu (No Coffee, No Alcohol)


Tiramisu is a classic Italian dessert where lady fingers are dipped into variations of rum and coffee and topped with a mascarpone cream mixture. We are a coffee and alcohol free family so I've come up with a family friendly tiramisu recipe that focuses on chocolate. In this delictable alternative version, lady fingers are dipped into hot chocolate, and layered with a mascarpone cream mixture and a chocolate custard layer. The result is a heavenly dessert that everyone in the family can enjoy!


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 approximately 9x13 cake

Ingredients

42 lady fingers
4 cups hot chocolate
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
16 oz mascarpone 2 TB. white sugar, divided
1 recipe chocolate custard (see recipe below)
1 TB. cocoa powder

Instructions

1. Get out a 9x13 pan, large platter, or jelly roll pan. Mix the hot chocolate with vanilla extract. Working one at a time, dip the lady fingers into the hot chocolate and arrange 14 of the lady fingers to form a bottom layer. Break the lady fingers in half, if necessary, before dipping to get your desired shape.

2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together heavy cream and sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Fold in the mascarpone.

3. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture onto the bottom layer of lady fingers. Create another layer of lady fingers using another 14, working one at a time to dip the lady fingers into the hot chocolate.

4. Top the second layer of lady fingers with the chocolate custard. Create a final layer of lady fingers using the remaining 14, working one at a time to dip the lady fingers into the hot chocolate and layer.

5. Top the final layer of lady fingers with the reamining mascarpone. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours before serving.

6. Dust the cake with cocoa powder or use a vegetable peeler to shave chocolate onto the top.



Chocolate Custard

Ingredients

1/4 cup white sugar

3 TB. cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped  (OR 1/4 cup chocolate chips)
2 egg yolks
1 TB. butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


Instructions

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, milk, heavy cream, and chocolate. Stir constantly until mixture begins to bubble and thicken.

2. Put the egg yolks in a small mixing bowl off to the side. Pour in a little of the heated chocolate mixture and beat rapidly for a few seconds, then pour the entire egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the chocolate. Whisk together constantly and cook for an additional 90 seconds.

3. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until melted.

4. Pour into a glass bowl and cool completely in the refrigerator.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Creamy Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic and Lemon


My husband is a big cauliflower lover. Seriously, he can't get enough of the stuff. He'll eat it raw or cooked. Since we eat a lot of new dishes around here (hello, I'm a food blogger!) I'm always trying out new cauliflower dishes. This one in particular is a family favorite. It is creamy and zesty and cheesey and cauli-riffic! Even though I say this recipe serves 4 to 6, I will admit that my husband and I ate the entire thing ourselves. He ate 2/3rds and I ate the rest. I told you he loves cauliflower! But for normal people? 4 to 6. 


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Roasting Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower
2 TB. olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
zest of 1 lemon
2 TB. chopped chives or parsley for garnish


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Cut the cauliflower into florets and lay them out in a single layer on a 4-sided baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze the lemon juice over the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle garlic over. .

3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and pour heavy cream over cauliflower. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Return to oven and roast 5 minutes more.

5. Remove from oven and serve hot. Garnish with chopped chives or chopped parsley (optional).

Monday, January 27, 2014

Creamy Garlic Pasta with Green Beans




I've started doing Zumba on a regular basis. I like it because I'm getting a work out, but it's still fun. I'm horribly uncoordinated and can't shake my hips if my life depended on it, but I dance it out in my own little world at Zumba and pretend that I'm an awesome dancer. All this exercise has made me super hungry though. One night I was absolutely craving pasta and whipped this up for me and my kids. The green beans add a veggie for a somewhat complete meal.  But, you know, it's mostly about stuffing my face with delicious pasta. 


Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

1 lb. green beans, trimmed and halved
1 lb. linguine or fettucine pasta
3 TB. butter
4 cloves garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese


Instructions

1. Fill a large pot 2/3 full with water. Bring to a boil over high heat.

2. Add in green beans and boil 5 minutes. Add in pasta and cook according to package directions (somewhere in the range of 10-12 minutes).

3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Increase heat to medium high and add in garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Pour in heavy cream and stir in basil and salt. Heat through, stirring often until it just begins to simmer. Remove from heat. 

4. Once the pasta reaches al dente, drain and return to pot. Pour cream sauce over the pasta and stir in parmesan cheese until melted. Serve hot. 



Friday, January 24, 2014

Oven Roasted Flank Steak


I've kind of got a thing for flank steak lately. Something about the versatility of this cut has my experimental curiosity and creativity churning. This time I decided to give the oven a go. A simply dry rub coats the meat, pop it in the oven, and out comes a delicious dinner. I love easy meals like that. This meat has a flavorful crust and tender interior. You are also free to cook it to your desired level of doneness, whether it be medium rare, or well done. And as always with flank steak, for heavens sake cut against the grain! The grain is very clear in flank steak, making it more important than ever to cut against it to ensure a tender piece of meat. 


Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 to 40 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 people


Ingredients

1 (2-4 lb.) flank steak
1 TB. olive oil
1 TB. brown sugar
1 TB. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Place the flank steak in a 9x13 pan. Rub it down with olive oil.

3. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, salt, allspice, onion powder, cumin, and nutmeg. Sprinkle the spice over the flank steak and rub it down.

4. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast in the preheated oven for 25 to 40 minutes (depending on desired doneness).  For medium rare cook to an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees. Well done is 155. 

5. Remove from oven and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rachel's Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies


It was 5th grade. We were having a bake sale at school. My mom thought I should make the cookies myself. She gave me the recipe and I went to work. I watched the cookies bake in the oven and they grew larger and larger until they covered the entire pan. I took them out of the oven, let them cool a bit, and tasted them. They were disgusting. Instead of putting 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in the cookies, I put 1/2 cup. 

And so it was that I developed an interest in cooking. Being the overachieving perfectionist that I was (and still am), I couldn't stop until I mastered the chocolate chip cookie. My cookies became quite popular at bake sales as the years went by and I moved on to other culinary adventures. These cookies are special to me and I have gone back and forth on sharing the recipe. I might be a little bit selfish when it comes to these. They are my perfect chocolate chip cookie. Others might disagree. Every home cook needs their go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. And each home cook has their different ideas about what makes for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Here's my version for you to try out. You  never know, you  might fall in love.


Cooking Time: 5 minutes prep, 10 to 12 minutes bake
Yield: Approximately 2 dozen cookies


Ingredients

1 cup fat (lard, vegetable shortening, or butter)*
1 cup  brown sugar, tightly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups milk chocolate chips (Ghiradelli or Guittard)


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together fat, brown sugar, and white sugar. 

3. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

4. Stir in baking soda, salt, and flour and mix until it forms a nice dough. Stir in chocolate chips with a spoon.

5. Use a large spoon to portion out a cookie size. Use your hands to quickly shape into a dough ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Make 24 cookies.

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.

7. Remove and cool on the sheet for 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 


*So what's the deal with the different fats? Each fat will produce a slightly different result. Vegetable shortening happens to be my go-to choice of fat. The melting point provides for minimal spread of the cookie, meaning, the cookie still has a nice amount of thickness to it and won't spread out as much when it bakes. Today's home cooks are straying from the trans fat of vegetable shortening. A good alternative is straight lard which provides for a similar result. Butter can also be used, but the melting point is different and will cause a lot more spreading, resulting in a thinner cookie. My friend Mel over at Mel's Kitchen Cafe has done a lot of experimenting with butter temperature if you want to go the butter route. 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kalua Pork Quesadillas


Are you ready for a ridiculously tasty quesadilla? My husband and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary a few weeks ago. To celebrate we went out sea kayaking in hopes of spotting some gray whales during their migration to Baja Mexico. We paddled out a few miles and ended up having up close and personal encounters with several giant whales. How crazy is that? It was an amazing experience. After all that paddling we were starved. We ate at a little foodie joint in La Jolla, CA called The Promiscuous Fork. Isn't that an awesome name? The name had me hooked. They had a Kalua Pork Quesadilla on the menu and I couldn't resist having been craving Kalua Pork ever since I made it in December. It was delicious and easy to replicate at home. So, of course, I'm sharing it with you today! We didn't have school on Friday so I put the pork in the slow cooker in the morning and headed off to Disneyland for the day. We got home at dinner time and I was able to whip out these quesadillas in under 15 minutes. Score! This was a super easy dinner and incredibly tasty. We had it Friday for dinner, and both Saturday and Sunday for lunch. I couldn't get enough! 


Cooking Time: 8 to 10 hours slow cooker + 15 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

3 to 4 lb. boneless pork butt or shoulder roast
3 tablespoons liquid smoke
1 tablespoon sea salt
16 (10-inch) flour tortillas
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
cilanto for garnish


Instructions

1. Make your kalua pork by placing the pork roast into the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker. Pour the liquid smoke over the meat, and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Shred meat with a fork.

2. Heat a heavy skillet or tortilla pan over medium heat.

3. Assemble the quesadillas with 1/4 cup cheese spread over one tortilla, topped with shredded pork, 1/4 cup more cheese, and topped with a tortilla. Cook each quesadilla until outside is browned and cheese is melted, flipping halfway through.

4. Serve quesadillas hot drizzled with hoisin sauce and sour cream. 



Monday, January 20, 2014

Brown Sugar Brussel Sprouts and Carrots



Several years ago I got fresh brussel sprouts in my CSA box for the very first time. I was quite skeptical about them and wondered what in the world I could do with them. I got a few bunches of fresh carrots at the same time. I absolutely love brown sugar carrots, so why not throw in some brussel sprouts and see what happens? The result is what got me hooked on brussel sprouts. I served these to a skeptical Thanksgiving table of in-laws one year and it was a hit. Seriously, this might be the brussel sprout convert recipe. How can you go wrong with a little butter and brown sugar?


Cooking Time: About 20 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 lb. fresh brussel sprouts, trimmed
3 TB butter
3 TB brown sugar
1/8 tsp salt


Instructions

1. Cover the bottom of a large saucepan with 1/2-inch water.

2. Place the carrots in the bottom of the pan and the brussel sprouts on top.Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover with a lid and steam until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Drain any excess liquids. Stir in butter, brown sugar, and salt until butter melts and vegetables are coated in the glaze.

4. Serve hot.



Friday, January 17, 2014

Pinterest Tested: The Healthy Frosty


Have you seen those healthy versions of Wendy's frosty on Pinterest? There are several variations on it with slight differences in the amount of each ingredient. Some add chia seeds. But it's January and you have that resolution to be more healthy so now you are wondering....will this thing really satisfy my frosty craving? Could that really taste just like a frosty?

My sister runs The Craft Patch and has a long series she calls "Pinterest Tested." She tests popular pins on Pinterest to see if they actually work. It's like the mythbusters of domesticity. You should totally check it out! You'd be surprised what pins are a win, and which ones are a total bomb. Following in her footsteps, I tested out this recipe for you so you don't have to wonder. 

I followed the recipe almost as written in the photo except I started with half the cocoa powder: 1 frozen banana, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 TB. cocoa powder, 10 ice cubes, and tsp. vanilla. Blend it all up in a blender and you are supposed to have a healthy concoction that tastes "just like a frosty."

The result tasted like watered down banana with a hint of chocolate. 

I added an additional tablespoon of cocoa powder which I had seen in some recipes, wondering if it could save the recipe.

It didn't. It was bitter and disgusting. My kids were dying for a taste because it looks so good. They took one sip and my 5 year old started gagging. The 2 year old started crying and saying "yucky, yucky, yucky!"

Experimentation continued...we slowly added in sugar to see if there was some way of saving it. After about 1/4 cup the drink became bearable. It still didn't even come close to tasting like a frosty, but you could drink it without gagging.

VERDICT: Don't waste your time! Complete Pin Fail!


Want a healthy dessert that I can completely vouch for? Try my chocolate peanut butter faux ice cream. It's super easy and delicious!





Thursday, January 16, 2014

Simple Heirloom Tomato Salsa over White Fish


As I've had the opportunity to experience more varieties of fish, I've grown quite fond of having fish for dinner. There's a whole wide world out there beyond fishy fish sticks and other fishy filets. A good white fish is a great place to start. I found some beautiful red snapper at my grocery store and couldn't resist the sale price. The fish is dusted in spices then grilled or sauteed in a skillet, and topped with a fresh heirloom tomato salsa for additional acidity and a bright contrast in both texture, temperature, and flavor. This is a fast and delicious meal. My 5 year old ate three fillets himself!



Cooking Time: Approximately 15 minutes
Yield: 6 fillets

Ingredients

2 TB olive oil 
6 white fish fillets (like tilapia or red snapper)
2 limes, juiced
2 tsp chili powder
2 large heirloom tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/4 white onion, diced
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1 lime, juiced
1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat OR heat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat and lay down a piece of lightly greased aluminum foil.

2. Season fish fillets with the juice of 2 limes and dust both sides with chili powder. 

3. Cook fish for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Actual cooking time will depend on thickness of individual fillets. Fish is done with it is easily flaked with a fork.

4. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, juice of 1 lime, and salt. 

5. Serve fish hot topped with a heaping pile of salsa. 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Honey Roasted Brussel Sprouts


I do love me some tasty brussel sprouts. I've mentioned before about how they make me feel good about myself for eating the childhood hated veggie. Nothing like eating a plate full of brussel sprouts to make you feel like a grown-up.

There are endless ways you can cook vegetables. I'm quite fond of roasting lately. I needed something quick and easy so I decided to give honey roasted brussel sprouts a try. They were delicious! The sweetness of the honey counteracts the natural bitterness of the brussel sprouts. Combine that with the roasting process that brings out such wonderful natural flavors and you have yourself a great little side dish. Half my dinner plate was brussel sprouts and I was pretty stoked about it. I was sad I hadn't made more


Ingredients

2 lbs. brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
3 TB. honey
2 TB. olive oil
Salt and Pepper


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spread the brussel sprouts out in a single layer on a 4-sided baking sheet. Drizzle with honey and olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt and pepper, you just want a touch of each in every bite.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until sprouts are tender, about 15-25 minutes (depending on size of the brussel sprouts). 


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Easy Homemade Lemon Curd



We've been devouring this little treat for the past few days. I found some beautiful meyer lemons at Costco and couldn't resist turning them into something yummy. We started out with a loaf of my very favorite homemade bread. It was heavenly smothered in this lemon curd. Between the four of us (2 adults, 2 small children), we ate the entire loaf in a single sitting. 


Next, we moved on to English muffins. Oh, my! Breakfast has turned into snack time and dessert. 


I have great plans of making donuts and using this as a filling. Or a cake. A triple layer vanilla cake with lemon curd between layers would be decadently amazing! However you use it, even if you just eat it with a spoon, will be awesome. So many uses!



Cooking Time: About 15 minutes
Yield:  3 half-pint jars

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 TB. lemon zest
12 egg yolks
1 cup butter


Instructions

1. Combine sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is hot,  but not yet simmering.

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. 

3. Slowly pour some (about 1/3) of the hot sugar mixture into the bowl, whisking constantly. 

4. Transfer all of the egg mixture into the saucepan, whisking to combine, over medium heat. 

5. Slice the butter into tablespoon-size slices and add into the hot mixture. Stir until butter is melted and mixture thickens.

6. Pour through a mesh sieve into canning jars or a large bowl. Mixture will fill 3 half-pint jars. 

7. Cool to room temperature and store in the fridge. 




Monday, January 13, 2014

Mac and Cheese Burgers with Guacamole and Grilled Onions


Hold on to your diets folks! I'm about to blow your mind with calories today. 

Have you heard about that Chicago restaurant that serves a hamburger on buns made of fried mac and cheese? Put Rockit Burger Bar on your list if you are heading to Chicago soon!

But guess what? I'm not headed to Chicago any time soon. But sheer curiosity gave me the desire, nay, the need to try these for myself. My brothers were coming to town and I knew this would be right up their culinary allies. And so the adventure ensued.


First, on the morning of, I made my famous secret ingredient macaroni and cheese,  let it cool, then put it in the fridge still in the 9x13 pan. 

Next, I used a cup to cut out circles in the macaroni and cheese for use as buns. I still don't own biscuit cutters or circle cookie cutters because cups work so incredibly well. The buns were thick, so I sliced them in half which was an excellent choice. I ended up with 7 bun sets. Nice. Be careful and keep them cold so they don't fall apart.

It was time to fry up some mac and cheese buns. Pour some frying oil (I always end up using vegetable oil) in a large skillet and get that sucker up to somewhere in the 350 to 375 degree range.

Time to pull some ingredients together. You will need:

3 cups bread crumbs
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
8 eggs


1. Mix together the bread crumbs, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes and put them in a shallow pan or dredging pan for easy coating.

2. Whisk those eggs into oblivion and put them in a shallow bowl, shallow pan, or dredging pan.

3. Carefully dip each bun half into the egg batter to coat, then into the bread crumb mixture to coat, then directly into the hot oil.

4. Fry until golden brown, flipping half way through. Should take a few minutes per side.

5. Dry on paper towels.


With buns successfully made I put together the rest of the burger. I'm in California so I can barely eat a burger without some guacamole. (It ended up absolutely amazing with the mac and cheese!)

I formed patties using 15% fat ground beef and even cooked them up on the grill for the extra flavor.

I sauteed up onion slices for that "animal style" feel. Remember the whole California thing? ('animal style" = In n Out)

Lettuce, tomato. The end. Burger finished.


So now the question you all have? Was it any good?

This was incredible burger. It was most definitely a heart attack on a plate, but it was delicious, filling, and a total culinary adventure. While half the people at the table ate it with their hands, I ultimately used a fork. But who cares? 

Definitely try it once! ***I can't advocate any more than once because I don't want anyone suing me for health problems or something!








Friday, January 10, 2014

Battered Fish Burritos with Green Chile Sauce


I live in San Diego so we kind of eat a lot of fish tacos. We have a local Mexican restaurant that we love and one of our favorite things to get is fish burritos. I was a bit skeptical at first, but dangit it is stinkin' tasty and I crave it all the time. I made these for visitors who were equally as skeptical and they devoured them. You don't need much to dress these up. Seriously, not much at all. A little shredded cabbage, some tomatoes, and maybe even some avocado. This burrito is all about the stars: fish and the green chile crema. Oh baby! Get me another burrito! Stat!

Ingredients

Green Chili Crema 
1/2 white onion, 
4 whole green chiles (from a can), roughly 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 cup heavy cream 
2 tablespoons sour cream 
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
juice of 1 lime

 Batter 
1 cup flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 
1 cup soda (we don't do beer, but we love ourselves some Dr. Pepper)
1 lb white fish (mahi mahi, snapper, etc.), cut into small strips (3 inches x 1/2 inch) 

Other Ingredients 
Oil for frying 
6 cups shredded cabbage 
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 
Salt and Pepper 
2 cups diced tomatoes 
3 avocados, pitted and cubed (optional)
2 cups cilantro leaves, loosely packed
8 burrito-size tortillas


Instructions 

1. Make the creama by combining the onion, green chiles, salt, heavy cream, sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.

2. Make the batter for the fish by stirring together flour, baking powder, garlic powder, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour in soda and whisk until smooth.

3. Pour vegetable oil into a large skillet, about 1/2 inch deep. Heat to about 370 degrees. 

4. Fry your fish by picking up a piece of fish with tongs, dipping it into the batter, and putting it directly into the oil. Work in batches, frying each piece for about 4 minutes, flipping halfway through. Drain on paper towels. 

5. Toss shredded cabbage with red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. 

6. Assembly burritos with 2 to 3 pieces of battered fish, 1 cup cabbage mixture, 1/3 cup tomatoes, 1/2 an avocado (optional), and 1/3 cup cilantro on a burrito-size tortilla. Smother with green chile sauce. Wrap and enjoy!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Braised Caribbean Chicken


My family came to visit over the holidays. Whenever I have visitors I let them "order off the menu" or choose something else they want to try. My mom requested Caribbean chicken. I had been wanting to do a Caribbean chicken dish for a while so I happily obliged. This chicken was full of spice and flavor without being too overwhelming. The acidity of the tomatoes added a nice brightness that made me feel like I was lounging on a beach in the Caribbean. Serve it over a little rice and you've got yourself a dang delicious meal. 


Ingredients

4 chicken thighs
4 chicken drumsticks
Salt and Pepper. 
2 TB olive oil
4 large tomatoes, cut into large chunks
2 sweet onions, cut into large chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 TB. sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground ginger
juice of 1 lime


Instructions 

1. Season thighs and drumsticks with a little salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy pot over high heat. Add in the olive oil and sear the thighs and drumsticks on each side. 

2. Add in tomatoes, onions, garlic, worcestershire, balsamic, sugar, salt, thyme, red pepper flakes, and ginger. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 1 hour. 

3. Stir in lime juice before serving. Serve over rice. 






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